Me without words is, generally speaking, a bit of an oxymoron! And yet, that’s pretty much the way I’ve been feeling.
A couple of days ago I got a text from a dear friend. I’m sharing it here, with permission of course, because it has lodged in my heart.
…a side note – if you prayer dot today, put some up for me and [Joe]. He’s angry and sad and frustrated over shootings and we’re trying to decide how to respond. I sent him off to church today while I crawl under covers (our usual responses, him outward, me inward), scared the church could be targeted, or his school tomorrow, etc. We’ll be donating and/or writing later and registering him to vote the minute he turns 17 1/2 (presidential elections are days after his 18th birthday!), but throwing up extra prayer dots at this point can’t hurt.
Fortunately, I have a painting in progress that was happy to volunteer for dots. Finger dots, this time. On their way to being a meadow beneath a Klimpt-esque tree of life.
And while I made dots, I pondered.
The friend on Facebook under attack for expressing her views on moving toward effective gun safety laws in the USA.
A high school kid who should be worried about dance try outs afraid that his church or school will be attacked. A suburban kid with an educated family and plans for college.
Two beloved granddaughters I hope are excited about choosing a new, more intense level of involvement in their swim team journey and looking forward (mostly!) to the new school year who happen to live way too close to the epi-center of utter political dysfunction to realistically avoid the news.
And this grandmother asking her usual question… “What, then, shall we do?”
First (You guessed it!) more dots. Not simply because I’m convinced that they add to the positive energy in the Universe and make real change closer to possible, moment by moment.
And not simply because I believe in a Creator who is, after all these eons and against all odds, still working good for us.
But also because making dots changes us. As we focus on someone’s request, or the huge, gaping needs of the world, we also get access to more of our own process. We get in touch with our inner Observer who is quite likely to surprise us with new information and new ideas for action we probably didn’t notice in the midst of our angst.
In short, making dots helps us connect rather than isolate. And I believe that connection is the key to what ails our world. (Even if, now and then, what patches us together enough to connect is our pillow and a favorite quilt!)
And, I have a few other ideas, as well.
The first batch are pretty obvious for many of us. Find political candidates on the local, state, and national levels who want the kind of world you want and support them. Wear a button. Put a sign in your yard. Give what you can. Each individual contribution matters! Write or call your representatives. If they’re like most of mine, they’ll ignore you, but it’s our responsibility to speak out, regardless. Even if our voices quiver!
Make something better. Even if it’s only trimming the muscadines gone rogue in your front garden. Or cleaning up litter. Or a community art project.
Celebrate what’s working in life and in the world.
Make space for the ones you love.
Be available for conversations (which are different from lectures) with the young people you love, when they’re ready.
Make things. Cookies. Treehouses. Gardens. Soup. Lego worlds. Dots. Quilts. Stories. Remembering as you do, in whatever way it works for you, that we humans could well be described as creations of a Creator creating.
And try asking your inner Observer to help you notice the ways we are alike instead of focusing on the ways we’re different. It takes a bit of practice but it helps, a lot.
And, maybe, just maybe, give thanks for teenagers with something to teach!
The longest of journeys begins with one step. Please don’t miss out!
Clearly, I wasn’t quite as speechless as I felt! Part of that is due to the words of wise teachers pondering these same questions… notably Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, Julie Steelman, Dina VanDecker- Tibbs, and Anne Lamott.